“Peace” is traditionally the second theme in the advent season. Yet, “peace” is one of those words we know and use in a variety of settings while finding it quite hard to pinpoint its definition.
Fortunately, if we listen to Jesus, we can get to the bottom of “peace.”
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27)
In a world that is on edge at the best of times—a world that has never really know peace but seeks after it, ironically even through war, in such a world as ours—Jesus’ peace removes all trouble and fear from the souls of those who trust in him.
The basis for such peace: “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” (Colossians 1:19-20)
The experience of this peace: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14)
Jesus also reminds us that the world’s peace is either precious-thin and short-lived, or impossible to find, because our world is not at peace with God (Luke 19:42-44).
Do you remember the winter school yard game, called, “the king of the castle”? A large group of kids head to the biggest snow pile in the school yard and battle it out to see which one can stay on top and keep all others off. To begin with, alliances can be formed. But then those alliances must be broken because only one can be the king of the castle. And when all is said and done, when the war is won, and all others are tossed off and there are no more challengers, that winner gets to shout out: “I am the king of the castle and you’re the dirty rascal!” It is loads of fun. Yet, it illustrates what our world has been doing all along but on a much more sophisticated level.
We live in a world that is at war with itself. Even though some nations might know a few decades of tentative, shaky peace at a time, the world has always been at war. Ever since our first parents took the forbidden fruit in Eden, men and women have been striving to stand in God’s place over this world (Genesis 3:5). And so we fight with one another for who gets to be the king of the castle. Yet, once people reconcile to God, by his Spirit, through his Son, true peace like a river flows without end! (Isaiah 9:6-7, Philippians 4:7)
Once we know the peace of God in Christ (Ephesians 2:11-22) we are in a place to be peacemakers in this world (Matthew 5:9).